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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

KCN: Weinstein Co. Picks up Snowpiercer, Interviews Galore and Much More (11/08-11/14, 2012)

Lots of news this week, some of its relating to the London Korean Film Festival and its spectacular closing. Save the Green Planet director Jang Joon-hwan finally returns with a new project, Berlin makes a big Korea selection, Pieta wins awards and many interviews to boot, most notably from Paul Quinn whose been a very busy bee over at Hangul Celluloid!



Kim Yun-seok to Star in New Jang Joon-hwan Film
Korea's most bankable star Kim Yun-seok is set to star in the sophomore feature by Jang Joon-hwan whose sensational debut Save the Green Planet (2003) rocked the international film stage upon its release. It'll be a decade separating his two films by the time this is released and while people have been wondering why he has stepped away for so long, though he he did directed a short in 2010's Camilia omnibus and is well-known as actress Moon So-ri's husband, there is not doubt that many are thrilled to see his return to the big screen.

Kim has been on something of a rampage since his star-making turn in 2008's The Chaser. He has followed Na Hong-jin's blistering debut with hit after hit, including Running Turtle (2009), Woochi (2009), The Yellow Sea (2010), Punch (2011) and capping it off with The Thieves, which became the most successful Korean film of all time earlier this year.

The film, simply named Hwa-Yi (though an English title is likely to follow) follows a boy of the same name as he seeks revenge on his fathers. Filming is set to begin this month and the pic will also star Cho Jin-woong, hot off this year's hit Nameless Gangster. Save the Green Planet was a landmark film that some (including Twitch's Asian editor James Marsh) consider to be Korea's best film and the prospect of combining its director with one of the most electrifying actors in world cinema seems like cause for celebration. (Modern Korean Cinema, November 14, 2012)

White Night to Screen at Berlin International Film Festival
White Night, Leesong Hee-il's new film, to be released on Thursday in Korea, has officially been invited to the Panorama section of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival. This is the second time that Leesong has been invited to the festival. He went to Berlin with No Regret in 2006 as well. (KoBiz, November 13, 2012)

Hollywood Stars Out in Force for Masquerade
Hollywood stars Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich had high praise for Masquerade, which closed the London Korean Film Festival (LKFF) and has attracted 11.73 million viewers to date in Korea. (KoBiz, November 13, 2012)

CJ's CGV to Add 15 IMAX Screens in China
IMAX and CJ's CGV Holdings, Ltd., a subsidiary of Korean media conglomerate CJ CGV Co. Ltd., announced an expansion of the companies' revenue share agreement with the addition of 15 new IMAX theatres to be installed in new construction projects throughout the People's Republic of China on Nov. 8. The agreement brings CJ CGV's IMAX commitment to a total of up to 65 theatres in South Korea and China. (KoBiz, November 13, 2012)

Masquerade Opens in Japan in February 2013
Masquerade, directed by Choo Chang-min and starring Lee Byung-hun is being released in Japan on Feb. 16 next year, announced CJ Entertainment Japan. With its tagline 'The Man Who Would Be King', the Japanese poster of Masquerade was revealed to the public. Masquerade was released in Korea on September 13th and has scored 11,450,000 admissions, placing 5th on the boxoffice chart. (KoBiz, November 13, 2012)

Code Name: Jackal Gets the Spotlight of Asia
A story about the suspicious kidnapping by a legendary killer of a heart-throb star, Code Name: Jackal has been pre-sold to 6 different countries ahead of its release. Starring SONG Ji-hyo, who has earn fame as a result of A Frozen Flower (2008) and Late Blossom (2011), and KIM Jae-joong from the idol group JYJ, it has been sold to Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. (KoBiz, November 13, 2012)

Gwangju Int'l Film Festival 2012 Closes
The Gwangju International Film Festival, which opened on the 8th under the slogan, "Hope for Peace", closed on November 12th after a five-day run. The closing film was a documentary about Aung San Suu Kyi's life, Aung San Suu Kyi-Lady of no Fear. (KoBiz, November 12, 2012)

PISAF Finishes its 2012 Edition
The 14th Pucheon International Students Animation Festival (PISAF 2012) wrapped up on November 11th after a successful five days. This year's PISAF offered a new vision of the animation festival and raised its international status. A total of 1207 entries from 39 countries were submitted, a record in the festival's historyas the first round of the selection process proved very competitive. (KoBiz, November 12, 2012)

The Weinstein Company Acquires Bong Joon-ho's Snow Piercer, 2013 Release Planned
Though the film is still winding its way through post production the reel of footage displayed at the American Film Market was enough to convince The Weinstein Company to move quickly on The Host director Bong Joon-ho's English language debut, Snow Piercer. (Twitch, November 10, 2012)

Fighting?! Korean Cinema and the 'Mock Charge'
The 'mock charge' is indeed a curious phenomenon in Korean cinema. This "threat of violence" is usually used when there is a real, or perceived, power difference between two parties; as well as a strong desire to express it. In modern Korean cinema it can be seen in almost all genres, and performed by, well, anyone really. This simulated act of aggression is now an iconic element performed by Korean actors, and actresses, and has become a hallmark of Korean cinema's power relations onscreen. But what is a 'mock charge' and how exactly is it used in Korean cinema? (, November 10, 2012)

Trio of Korean Films at 16th Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival
On November 7th, the 16th Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (TRAIFF) held a press conference at the Marriott hotel to showcase three Korean feature films in their program. Co-hosted by the Korean Consulate, TRAIFF introduced director Lee Yong-joo with Architecture 101, Park Hong-min with A Fish, and Kim Kyung-mook with Stateless Things. As Korean films are hard to come across in Toronto, the directors received many words of appreciation and thanks from the crowd for allowing this community to screen their films. (KoBiz, November 9, 2012)

Macrograph JV Gives New Hue to Malaysia
Leading South Korean visual effects firm Macrograph has teamed with Malaysia's Triple Hue Media to create a VFX joint venture in Kuala Lumpur. The new Hue-MG FX will focus on providing visual effects for feature films from the local and international markets. Three time Oscar-winner Jim Rygiel will join the new company as consultant. (Film Business Asia, November 9, 2012)

Pieta Honored with 4 Trophies from Korean Association of Film Critics
Kim's 18th film “Pieta” has received four honors from the Korean Association of Film Critics [KAFC] at the 32nd awards ceremony held at the Korea Press Center in Seoul last evening. The cruel morality film was chosen for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress and FIPRESCI Korea Award, a prize given to the International film critics. (KStar 10, November 8, 2012)

Korean Media Group CJ CGV Takes Another 15 Imax Theaters for China
Korean media group CJ CGV Co. has signed another deal with Imax, this time to add another 15 joint venture theaters to its exhibition chain in China. The deal brings CJ CGV's Imax commitment to up to 65 theatres in South Korea and China. (The Hollywood Reporter, November 8, 2012)

Myanmar-Korea Cultural Festival Kicks Off in Yangon
A Korea Week activities featuring the largest Myanmar-(South) Korea cultural festival kicked off in Myanmar on Thursday, aimed at promoting business relationship with South Korea. A South Korean film festival has been held in Myanmar since 2006 aimed at strengthening the mutual friendship and boosting cultural exchange between S. Korea and Myanmar. (The Global Times, November 8, 2012)

The 10th Asiana International Short Film Festival Closes Successfully
The Asiana International Short Film Festival (AISFF), a film festival aimed at the promotion and distribution of short films, finished the 6-day journey of its 10th edition on November 6th. At the awards presentation, the chairwoman Son Sook, the director and jury foreman Anh Sung-ki, other jury members Kang Soo-yeon, Jung In-gi, Tony Rayns and Tomiyama Katsue, special jury member Choi Byeong-hwa as well as directors of screened films and festival staff shared the last moment of the festival. (KoBiz, November 7, 2012)

Korean Films Score 10 Million Viewers for 4 Straight Months
The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) released the Korean film industry wrap-up report for October 2012. Korean film fever did not let up during the month. This is the first year that Korean films have attracted 10 million viewers to theaters for 4 months in a row since KOBIS was first introduced in 2007. Masquerade became the 7th Korean film to sell over 10 million tickets. (KoBiz, November 7, 2012)

Seoul Searching: How Politics Plays Out in South Korean Cinema
"Fucking bastards!" Not the kind of words you'd expect from a king's lips. Except the king – who's just been told a tale of shocking injustice suffered by one of his subjects – is not the king. In South Korea's new 17th-century period drama Masquerade, a court jester is put on the throne after the reigning monarch, Gwanghae, is drugged by his enemies. (The Guardian, November 7, 2012)


LKFF: Lee Byung-hun
Lee Byung-hun first achieved fame as a border-guard soldier in the box office hit Joint Security Area (2000). He went on to star in popular television dramas including Beautiful Days (2001) and All In (2003) and received critical acclaim for his performances in Kim Ji-woon's A Bittersweet Life (2005); The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) and I Saw the Devil (2010). His latest film is period drama Masquerade (2012) which has already won numerous awards. (Hangul Celluloid, November 12, 2012)

LKFF: Masquerade Director Choo Chang-min and Star Ryu Seung-ryong
Ryoo Seung-ryong made his acting debut at the age of 15 in a stage musical. After his screen debut in 2004's Someone Special, he has since become one of the most versatile and dependable character actors in Korea. Director Choo made his feature film debut with hit comedy Mapado: Island of Fortunes (2005), following it with melodrama Lost in Love (2006) and romance Late Blossom (2011) which became a sleeper hit. (Hangul Celluloid, November 12, 2012)

LKFF: Eungyo's Jung Ji-woo
Jung Ji-woo first became known for his short film A Bit Bitter (1996), which was produced by an independent film production, Generation Blue Films, and subsequently achieved both box office success in Korea and film festival honours overseas with his debut feature film Happy End (1999). Blossom Again (2005) was a less bold melodrama from director Jung, while Modern Boy (2008) was the director’s challenge to the genre of historical suspense. Jung Ji-woo also worked on the screenplay of Kang Woo-suk Moss in 2009. His latest film is Eungyo, telling the story of the relationship between a 70-year-old poet and a schoolgirl. (Hangul Celluloid, November 10, 2012)

Director Kim Jee-Woon Talks The Last Stand, Differences Between Korean and American Filmmaking, His Unique Directing Style, and More
After directing hit films A Tale of Two Sisters (2003); The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008); and I Saw the Devil (2010), Korean director Kim Jee-woon makes his American debut with The Last Stand (watch the new trailer here). The stylized Western stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as retired LAPD officer turned sheriff, Ray Owens, who settles in the peaceful border town of Sommerton Junction. When cartel leader Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) escapes from the FBI and makes a run for the border, Owens and his small-town sheriffs department are the only things standing in his way. (, November 7, 2012)

How South Korea's Dark Oscar Entry Pieta Cut Out Producers, Investors
By his 15th film, Kim Ki-duk, the director of South Korea's Best Foreign Picture Oscar entry Pieta, was sick of money shaping his cinematic vision. The director, who told an audience at the Landmark Theatre that he tries in his movies to ruthlessly dissect society with all its nuances and complexities, said he didn't want Hollywood-type producers and investors telling him how to fashion his films. (Chicago Tribune, November 7, 2012)

Director Scores Debut Hit With Coming-of-Age Beast Tale
For those familiar with director Jo Sung-hee’s previous work, his first commercial film, A Werewolf Boy, will come as a surprise. This is mostly because of the tone of the movie. The star-studded film, featuring Song Joong-ki and Park Bo-young, is a fantasy romance between a teenage girl and a feral “wolf” boy who can neither read nor speak. Taking place in a rural Korean town in the 1960s, the film feels very much like a children’s story, filled with innocence, curiosity, humor and moving drama. It drew 1 million viewers in the five days after its release on Oct. 31. (The Korea Herald, November 6, 2012)

LKFF: The Thieves Director Choi Dong-hoon
After graduating from the Korean Academy of Film Arts, Choi Dong-hoon made his feature film debut with The Big Swindle in 2004. He worked as first assistant director for Director Im Sang-soo on his acclaimed film Tears and has earned the reputation as an innovative and excellent screenwriting filmmaker. His subsequent films, Tazza: The High Rollers and Woochi further cemented his place as a talented director, leading producer Cha Seung-jae to describe him as a "genius storyteller" for his ability to develop elaborate yet gripping stories. (Hangul Celluloid, November 5, 2012)

LKFF: Kim Yun-seok, Star of The Thieves
Actor Kim Yoon-suk began his acting career working in the theatre and after a short period acting in several Korean TV dramas made his film debut in Choi Dong-hoon’s The Big Swindle. He will likely be most well known in the UK for his starring roles in Na Hong-jin's The Chaser and The Yellow Sea, as well as for a supporting role in Choi Dong-hoon's Woochi. (Hangul Celluloid, November 5, 2012)


Love 911 (Main Poster)

Paradox Circle


(Modern Korean Cinema, November 11, 2012)

Korean Cinema News is a weekly feature which provides wide-ranging news coverage on Korean cinema, including but not limited to: features; festival news; interviews; industry news; trailers; posters; and box office. It appears every Wednesday morning (Korean Standard Time) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at the Korean Box Office Update and the Weekly Korean ReviewsReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

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